Pan-American Union

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PAN-AMERICAN UNION. The Pan-American Union was the secretariat of the Union of American Republics from 1910 to 1948. The Union of American Republics succeeded the International Union of American States (1890–1910) and preceded the Organization of American States (OAS) (1948–).

The International Union of American States was founded following the first International Conference of American States in Washington, D.C. (2 October 1889–19 April 1890), attended by representatives from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela, and of course, the United States. From 1890 to 1910 the International Union of American States more or less operated as a branch of, and was based in, the U.S. Department of State. When it was reorganized as the Union of American Republics with the Pan-American Union as its secretariat, it was moved to the new Pan-American Union Building on Constitution Avenue and 17th Street NW in Washington, D.C.

Following the formative meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1910, the Pan-American Union organized inter-American conferences in Santiago, Chile, in 1923; Havana, Cuba, in 1928; Montevideo, Uruguay, in 1933; and Lima, Peru, in 1938. The Pan-American Union also organized the meeting in Bogota, Colombia, in 1948 that led to the founding of the Organization of American States (OAS). In 1951 the Pan-American Union was officially renamed the Secretariat of the OAS.


Gilderhus, Mark T. Pan American Visions: Woodrow Wilson in the Western Hemisphere, 1913–1921. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1986.

Inman, Samuel Guy. Inter-American Conferences, 1826–1954: History and Problems. Edited by Harold Eugene Davis. Washington, D.C.: The University Press, 1965.

Mark T.Berger

See alsoLatin America, Relations with .

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Pan-American Union, former name for the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (OAS). It was founded (1889–90) at the first of the modern Inter-American Conferences (see Pan-Americanism) as the Commercial Bureau of the American Republics and changed to the International Bureau of the American Republics in 1902. The name Pan-American Union was adopted in 1910. Created to promote international cooperation, it offered technical and informational services to all the American republics, served as the repository for international documents, and was responsible through subsidiary councils for the furtherance of economic, social, juridical, and cultural relations. In 1948 it was made the General Secretariat for the OAS, although the name was not dropped until 1970. The anniversary of its founding is Pan-American Day.

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Pan-American Union (PAU) See Organization of American States (OAS) It aimed to promote international cooperation and to improve economic, social, and cultural relations between the American republics. PAU was the name given to the secretariat of OAS (1948–70), but after 1970 the name Pan-American Union ceased to be used.

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